Matthew 18/1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
When Jesus used a little child as an example of what we need to become, was He not simply saying ‘become small’?
The child was little.
Innocent – in the sense that they have not matured enough to join the fray of obnoxious behaviour.
However, they will – throw a tantrum without being taught to do so. And if it is not managed correctly, they will grow up as spoiled brats – a description we hear quite often today.
The bible teaches that we all without exception, are birthed in the same way and condition as the Psalmist:-
I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness;
In sin my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful].
That’s why we don’t need to teach kids to throw a tantrum when self doesn’t get it’s own way. The nature within automatically rebels and wants it’s own way.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
But the child He placed in the midst hadn’t yet learned to lust for the power of position.
Why was – ‘who would be greatest’ – on their minds at all?
Jesus goes on to confirm His point:
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Humility then, is the lesson.
As far as we know the child didn’t enter into any kind of outward show of humility.
But there the child was – with all those adults staring at him/her. But that was ok – because the child was with Jesus!
Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to His Heavenly Father even unto death. (Phil. 2/8).
I was praying one day in my bedroom, and as I bowed before God, I was suddenly aware-in-spirit of the character of Christ just how full of humility He is. And so I in turn was humbled when this revelation came to me.
He is humble – not in some Uriah Heep, conjured-up, lip-service kind of way – but within His very nature.
He could throw His divine-weight around and sort-out a rebellious world, with judgement – instead His attributes make Him the God of Grace and the God of many chances.
…the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
(II Peter 3/15)
He is The Lamb before He is The Lion.
When Jesus was at a feast on another occasion – He taught the lesson that we are to choose the lower seat first, not the higher one.
Saint Augustine said:
The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.
Humbling self is firstly a thing of honest appraisal.
When Peter denied Jesus, slipping into the bind – that self puts upon us, enabled by the devil – one look – from The Master was enough to send him to his knees, in humility, as self was exposed in hurting The One he loved dearly.
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster [i]crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
We learn two things regarding how God works in our lives:
- The look of God
- The voice of God
When God looks upon you – you must notice it. When we notice it – we then remember what He has said.
Or if we reverse this we can find God’s revelation when we listen first to what he says (Bible) and in prayer notice His eye upon us – the result.
In Peter’s case a humbling of the self-life – and a searching for God’s forgiveness. In Peter’s case – Jesus called this conversion. Or a returning to God in prayer.
KJV: Luke 22:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
NKJV: Luke 22:
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
His eye is upon us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.
His voice is speaking to us – we can receive the benefits of this or ignore it.
May we all (like Noah) find Grace in the eyes of The Lord.